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Explorer Spotlight: Brenda Lin

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Name: Brenda Lin | Age: 41 | Location: Orange County, CA

What’s your day job?
Freelance Fine Artist specializing in paintings, drawings and murals

What are your favorite things to do outside?
Running, Hiking, Mountain Biking

What first drew you to the outdoors?
I’ll have to admit, I really wasn’t all that outdoorsy or adventurous growing up. Right after high school my family moved to Southern California. It was such a culture shock coming from a small country city on the east coast. I started to take up running to hopefully make a new set a friends to show me the in’s and out’s of this beautiful area. I quickly became enamored with the extensive amount of trails to run on in SoCal and soon I was signing up for trail races and marathons. Before I knew it, I found myself venturing farther into the wilderness, discovering places from the rugged coast line to the highest mountains. You could say moving to California was the best thing my family could have ever done. I am so happy to be able to call California home.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
Only an hour drive from Orange County, The San Gabriel Mountains has become my little home away from home. The Mt. Baldy area is high on my list for weekend hikes ranging from eight to 20 miles. The Mt. Baldy Lodge is always a great pit stop after a long day on the trail for great burgers and beers.

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
My hardshell rain jacket. It weighs practically nothing and has saved me quite a few times in not so nice weather.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Justin’s Almond Butter.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
The Chameleons, Peter Murphy, Joy Division, The National, Lord Huron, Hammock.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
The scariest thing that happened to me was almost getting blown away coming down from the summit of Mt. Baldy. We knew there were high winds forecasted, but weren’t expecting 60-80 mph gusts on the most exposed ridgeline of the mountain. It was a beautiful sunny day, but the recent snow had turned to ice which made it even more treacherous. Luckily we made it down safely, but we know better next time to heed the warnings of high winds.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
My number one adventure partner is my boyfriend, Craig. He’s always up for adventure, never gives up on something he sets out to do, creative and ever so spontaneous. His obsession for all things with wheels led him to teach me how to love mountain biking. And with my love of running and hiking, I in turn showed him how to appreciate adventures at a slower pace where wheels aren’t allowed. I am so grateful to have him in my life.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Anywhere in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
Thru-hike the John Muir Trail.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
See the above photo. Moraine Lake, Banff National Park.

After a long day hiking to Sentinel Pass, we hitchhiked our way back to our car at Moraine Lake. And what we were treated to was the most surreal moment of our time exploring the Canadian Rockies. The still turquoise water reflecting the high mountain peaks we had seen on our hike, it was as if we were in a dream. We were exhausted and starving, but we sat there staring in wonderment as the last rays of sunshine slowly slipped away. With nearly all the tourists gone for the day, it certainly felt like we had the lake all to ourselves.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
Sometimes the best moments are those you didn’t plan for. So take a breath, let go, and enjoy the ride.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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